Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Has human evolution stoped ?

  1. Oct 27, 2005 #1

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4348751,00.html
    For those who dream of a better life, science has bad news: this is the best it is going to get. Our species has reached its biological pinnacle and is no longer capable of changing.
    That is the stark, controversial view of a group of biologists who believe a Western lifestyle now protects humanity from the forces that used to shape Homo sapiens.
    'If you want to know what Utopia is like, just look around - this is it,' said Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, who is to present his argument at a Royal Society Edinburgh debate, 'Is Evolution Over?', next week. 'Things have simply stopped getting better, or worse, for our species.'

    I tend to agree, we seem able to amass knowledge, but not able to advance, because physical laws restric the use of it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2005 #2

    iansmith

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    this was entertaining :rofl:

    We are not evolving yet this is a example of evolution. Mixing of genes that create new combinations that may provide a better fitness.

    I am not sure everybody genes are making it to the next generation. Sexual selection is still at work.

    I think some people confuse Darwnism and evolution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism

    Definition of evolution:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution
     
  4. Oct 27, 2005 #3

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I guess the question should have been, "can humans evolve into some thing better". Sure a race that has no use for legs will probably evolve without
    them, all manner of physical evolution is possible, i think what the author meant
    is that, the quality of life has peaked for human evolution, that there will never
    be a utopia, or that us humans will evolve some super powers of the mind,
    cybernetics may enhance the life of a few in the future,but is that human evolution?
     
  5. Oct 27, 2005 #4

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    By its nature, evolution is only visible upon reflection, never from within. Consider, our personal experience with it is but a single generation. Try looking at a thousand generations at a time.
     
  6. Oct 27, 2005 #5

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    We can look back to the Minoans 1500BC, they had indoor plumbing and multi
    roomed houses and it seems a rich life style, how are we better than them ?
     
  7. Oct 27, 2005 #6

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    We have physicforums? They apparently never used their writing (Linear A) for anything but keeping account books.
     
  8. Oct 27, 2005 #7

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    And where would we be without Geen Span and Brown :smile: Physics Forums
    is a step forwards and maybe it will evolve to some higher level of existence,
    but we will be left with nuts, bolts, wires to play with.
     
  9. Oct 27, 2005 #8
    Actually, I tend to believe that our species is evolving into a less fit species. This is because we are helping people with genetic disorders life longer and allowing them to transmit their "flawed" genes (with respect to the environment as of now.) For example diabetes type I, is a genetic disorder that is due to a lack of insulin production. Insulin, which leads to glucose uptake into cells, is secreted from specialized cells that sense glucose or energy levels in the blood. People with type I diabetes would probably die before they matured to reproduce if it wasn't for our moral decisions and our ability to understand and rectify the situation by injecting insulin and sensing glucose levels in the blood with devices. So you genetic disorders are always arising but we are now essentialy selecting for the disorders.
     
  10. Oct 28, 2005 #9

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Ouch, i am no medical expert, but are there not many gentic disorders that need modern medical methods to prolong life ?
    That said, even if the human race is evolving into a physicaly weak people, is
    the mental evolution offsetting this weakness ?
     
  11. Oct 28, 2005 #10
    I think Quasi426 has a good point with genetic disorders. However this is a very precarious subject since the Nazi leader in WWII had the objective to create a superior human race. Actually the war was mostly about superior and inferior human etnic groups/races/subspecies.

    One more "improvement" that would help the human race would be the degeneration of primitive irrational and selfish instincts.
     
  12. Oct 28, 2005 #11
    Since the environment humans live in is dependent on their fitness I can see how mental evolution if it is indeed occuring is a benefit. This is only because we have such control over our environment right now. However after some catastrophic natural disaster such as a plague or asteriod collision we may once again be depended on the natural environement and thus not be as fit.

    Also I just wanted to say that I am not in anyway advocating a eugenetics movement where by we actively select "qualified" and "fit" humans to mate and not allow others who are not as qualified to not mate. This is very disturbing to me. Also I would never take the side of not treating sick people on the basis that they are damaging the genetics of our species. That's just my moral stand, which I believe is the moral stand of nearly all people, with the exception of those like hitler and some others in the eugenics movements.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2005
  13. Oct 28, 2005 #12

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I totally agree with you quasi426, human advance has been snuffed by natural
    disasters in the past, it could or even will happen again, will it be physical or
    mental power that ensures our survival, i do not know, but i guess we will be
    no better off than our ancestors.
     
  14. Oct 28, 2005 #13
    There isn't much doubt that we are trading off some of our physical fitness. Medical development has really stepped in the way of natural selection. This really isn't in much dispute.

    What is interesting though is what we are potentially gaining. Sometimes the benefits are obscured. For instance, an individual with sickle cell anemia is typically immune to malaria. Apparently coded in the DND right next to the defect trait is a beneficial trait. A doctor once gave me a few more examples of this that I have since forgotten.

    And who would trade Steven Hawkins for an athlete? Titles like "gifted" and "genius" and "world-changing" seem kind of cheap when applied to him.

    Perhaps natural selection naturally bends into the realm of the intellect after a certain amount of time. If it does, I wonder if there are environmental triggers?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2005
  15. Oct 31, 2005 #14

    Phobos

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    examples of ongoing human evolution...
    mixing of races, changes in immunities to diseases, broading of genetic diversity by caring for those individuals who would not live to reproduce without the help of technology...

    Is it better or worse? That will depend on the future conditions of our ecosystem (and perhaps our culture). At the moment, we are very well adapted to our environment...well enough to be taking some amount of control over it. Will that last? Probably not. Change will happen and humans will keep adapting to the new conditions, or adapt the environment to our needs, or go extinct.
     
  16. Nov 1, 2005 #15
    our evolution havent stopped and will never stop, our lifestyle simply changes the rules of evultion and where it goes
     
  17. Nov 1, 2005 #16
    evolution

    To my view, the most significant change is that we are fast approaching a point at which we'll control our own evolution. Once we fully understand our own code and master the means by which we can manipulate that code (including integrating the biological and the mechanical -- robotics, a.i., etc.) we will control the destiny of our species -- or the many species we will surely become.
     
  18. Nov 2, 2005 #17
    "approaching a point at which we'll control our own evolution."

    That is a most peculiar idea that I too have wondered. The evolutionary process has been tweaked before. An example I can think of are mutator genes, which encode proteins that can mess with the genomic DNA by switching for example A base pairs to C base pairs. This may seem trivial but it is making the process less random. Anyway in response to the fact that we can control our own evolution, we may be fast approaching but we are very far from it. Because as of right now we cannot even predict everything that is going on with the most studied organism known as E. coli. We do not know how all the machinery works in E.coli which is only 1 cell.

    Also this race to controling our own evolutionwe have to consider it as a race against an extreme environmental change that may wipe out certain technological advances and place us back. Examples of these are pandemics, asteriods, or even ideological changes. Looking back at history there are times when thinking creatively/scientifically were looked down upon and lead to punishments such as death.

    Just to make it clear by controlling our own evolution, I don't mean that we mate certain humans with one another and not allow certain humans to mate. I mean a manipulation of the genome prior to birth to give rise to the appropriate phenotypes or actual physical and physiological characteristics.
     
  19. Nov 2, 2005 #18
    I think we mean the same thing, but I expect we'll master all of this within the next few decades at the outside. Unless the exceptionally dramatic environmental change occurs within the next 20-40 years I don't think it will matter. Something could happen that soon, but I don't think it likely.
     
  20. Nov 3, 2005 #19
    I'm not sure exactly what top secret information you have access too that leads you to believe we are moving at such a fast pace, and that we know exactly where the finish line is. But from my perspective we are not decades away from controling evolution to the point that we can make ourselves adapt to any environmental situation (i.e. another planet)
     
  21. Nov 3, 2005 #20
    I don't think we will ever stop evolving, as long as the climate changes (among other factors) we will be subject to random mutations that will either be beneficial or not in light of these new factors.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Has human evolution stoped ?
  1. Evolution of Humans (Replies: 26)

  2. Evolution in humans? (Replies: 5)

  3. Human Evolution (Replies: 5)

Loading...